Guidance on Technical Issues

This page provides information which has been summarised from the Uniquest Report commissioned by the Department and does not reflect the Department's position necessarily.

Page last updated: 05 June 2011

Details on security and privacy issues can be found here in a RTF version of the summary document from the Uniquest Report.

Summary of Uniquest Report

Interoperability and integration considerations

To promote interoperability, where standards-based products are proposed, features that are provided by proprietary or pre-standard extensions should be avoided.
In the short-term, to communicate with endpoints on established networks, any new video consultation implementation may:
  • be either standards-based, or if proprietary, provide a mechanism to allow audio and video sessions between the proprietary and standards-compliant endpoints;
  • support a minimal subset of the following ITU standards: H.225; H.245; H.261 QCIF, H.263, Q.931; RTP; G.711; G.722; G.728; G.723; G.729; TCP/IP; and
  • manufacturers will demonstrate interoperability using the stated minimum subset in a heterogeneous environment.

Technical Considerations

Where software-based products are proposed, careful consideration may be given to match the product requirements against PC specifications.

For diagnostic or complex clinical management (diagnostic quality VC), using hardware-based video conferencing, the following considerations relating to video cameras may be made:
  • Image sensor: minimum type charge coupled device (CCD) image sensor;
  • Horizontal resolution: 460 lines (PAL);
  • Focus: autofocus;
  • Optical zoom ratio: minimum 10x; and
  • Standards-based far-end control of pan/tilt/zoom.

For non-diagnostic and non-complex clinical management (general quality VC), for software-based products (i.e. which use a webcam for video input) the following considerations may be made:
  • Image sensor: complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) or CCD type;
  • Minimum resolution: Video Graphics Array (VGA) (640x480); and
  • Frame rate: 30 frames per second (FPS) (at VGA resolution).

For both diagnostic quality and non-diagnostic (general quality VC) use, the following considerations may be made:
  • Choice of display should be made pragmatically depending on the circumstances. Contemporary display monitors are adequate for video conferencing;
  • A frame rate of 25 FPS is adequate for primary care video consultations;
  • For diagnostic or complex clinical management, using hardware-based standard definition (SD) VC, a minimum throughput of 384kbit/s should be available;
  • For video consultations, to avoid poor performance, round-trip latency must be lower than 300ms;
  • For video consultations, to avoid poor performance, packet loss should be less than 0.1%; and
  • For clinical consultations, to avoid poor intelligibility, audio should be encoded at a minimum of 16kbit/s.